Monday, July 03, 2006

Jack Abramoff, Boro Park riots and July 4th. Why America is different


Happy Independence Day.
How fortunate we are to have a place in the world where we can flourish and prosper.
Millions of Jews call America home and have for hundreds of years.
What makes America different?

People ask, Is it possible for something like the Holocaust to happen here?

Now, with God running the world anything is possible. However I’d like to analyze it from a Derech Hateva (natural) approach.
We know the well know Midrash that it’s inevitable that Esav will hate Yakov. However there’s a big leap between disliking someone and acting on it. Lyndon Johnson once said “Everyone hates the Jews, the anti-semite hates them more than is necessary”.

There are a few factors that make America unique.
A. The constitution and system of checks and balances. R’ Chaim of Volozin was shown the Constitution when it was written and he commented that the authors had Ruach Hakodesh while writing it.
(He also said that America will be the last stop before Moshiach comes.)
B. The fact that America is a melting pot. Jews are used to living in countries dominated by one nationality. Germany, Poland..etc. Anti-semitism is often times an outcome of fierce Nationalism which simply doesn’t exist here. Whites, Blacks, Latinos and Asians are all looking out for themselves while defining their joint Nationalistic experience as Americans. Certainly not the ideal situation for Anti-semitism to flourish.
C. My Grandfather, who lived through many of the horrors of the last century would always tell me Americans as a rule are good people. Americans by nature and nurture are just better hearted people. They’re more compassionate and quicker to help with charity.
D. There is no deep rooted history of violent persecution here. In Europe, even in the “good” years you were never more than 20 years removed from a despotic autocrat, a Dreyfus Affair, a pogrom and a coup. There simply was no precedent for treating Jews kindly.

In the past few months the news has been full of the corrupt dealings of an Orthodox Jew Jack Abramoff. Here is one Jew, pretty much controlling half of Congress with his dirty money. America watches as a parade of disgraced gentile congressman are humiliated by these bribery allegations. It reads right out of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Could you imagine this happening in 1920s Poland? Or even in modern day Europe. Yet, one can scour the (mainstream) press and listen to conversations of the common folk without hearing and reading one word from that angle.
Sometimes I look around at a baseball stadium and see Kosher hotdog stands, Minyanim in the mezzanine and as a student of History I cant help but let my imagination roam to a Soccer stadium Berlin 1920, Warsaw 1930, Vienna 1910, Moscow 1990. Do you think for a moment that if a Chossid would walk into any of the above mentioned venues with his garb he’d come out in one piece?
I’m not saying it’s necessarily a good thing I’m just mentioning it as an indicator.
A few months ago there were much talked about riots in Boro Park. When and where in our history of exile have we felt comfortable enough to riot?
I’ve been to many European cities and have often times been laughed at spit at while wearing my kippa in public. You’re different and you feel different and the locals have a very low tolerance for anyone different.
Now, from a spiritual standpoint it might be better that we do not get too comfortable, but this piece is strictly from a physical outlook.

So, while my eyes look longingly toward Zion, I appreciate this Great Land for everything it’s stood for and given us.
For the comfort and peace of mind to be able to grow and raise a family with Freedom from Fear.

Happy 230th America!

26 Comments:

Blogger Limey2001 said...

Dont get too comfortable......

July 03, 2006 2:03 PM  
Blogger kasamba said...

Hashem bless America!!!

July 03, 2006 2:30 PM  
Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I pledge allegiance.....Thank you for being there for us.

July 03, 2006 2:44 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

I love this country. I am living the American dream and loving every minute of it!

Happy Birthday America!

July 03, 2006 4:12 PM  
Blogger the only way i know said...

Happy July 4th!

love what you wrote - this week's hamodia had an article written in a similar vein -
May this country remain a safe haven for all until the coming of moshiach..

G-d bless America...
from sea to shining sea...
(and lake! lol)

July 03, 2006 5:09 PM  
Blogger the only way i know said...

btw - i'll admit - i also agree with limey's comment
at the end of the day - we must remember we're in galus....
let's hope the worst is over..

July 03, 2006 5:11 PM  
Blogger Lakewood Venter said...

David- Once again, a very well written post! I hope and pray that your analysis is correct. I know it makes sense logically, yet so often something from left field comes and the world as we know it can change in an instant. God bless America!

July 03, 2006 10:52 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Limey...
I did mention in my post that from a spiritual perspective its best not to get too comfortable in our galus state..thats true anywhere in the world.

Kasamba...
Amen

SocialWorker...
...to the flag of the United States of America...
America..says "youre welcome"

Stacey...
Yes you definitely are...and you have a beautiful family to prove it.

theonly.....
Amen...
That lake line..really made me laugh..lol
I believe the worst is over...that the worls is truly moving into a new age..of messianic times...

LV...
Thanks
Thats true...but Americas mettle has been tested many times..during the Civil War..the Depression...and somehow manages to emerge intact.

July 04, 2006 9:37 AM  
Blogger Pragmatician said...

Great post, it's so true, living in Europe and having spent some time in NY, I can attest to the truthfulness of your words.

July 04, 2006 11:53 AM  
Blogger FrumGirl said...

The United States was a bracha given to us... a 'refuah lifney hamaka' kind of bracha. We should all be grateful to this wonderful country!

Happy Independence Day!

July 04, 2006 3:31 PM  
Blogger Shopaholic said...

Happy 230th!

July 04, 2006 7:41 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Prag...
Thanks...
Youre always welcome back
:-)

FG...
Very true...

Shop...
:-)

July 04, 2006 7:46 PM  
Blogger Genendy said...

David, I so appreciate your positive outlook. Since I was young I've been hearing 'it could happen again, it could happen again, blah, blah, blah' without any real good reasons backing it up. And at first, I thought it was impossible, but then after hearing it for so many years, I started to believe it. So reading your optimistic post was really refreshing. You didn't just say 'nah, it can't happen!' but you gave solid reasons to back it up. Enough with the negativity! We have just as much or even more reason to be positive - so we might as well be.

July 04, 2006 10:25 PM  
Blogger the only way i know said...

you really believe that the worst is over?
wow!
from your mouth (blogspot) to G-d's ears!!

July 05, 2006 8:41 AM  
Blogger Shoshana said...

You have a really good point. A coworker recently told me about the book "A Fatal Embrace" by Benjamin Ginsberg, which discusses what you are saying. It's very scary.

July 05, 2006 9:19 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

genendy...
well...we sort of grew up in the generation after the holocaust...in a communal post traumatic stress disorder where we're obsessed by could it happen here..?..could it..?
I also heard alot of that..

theonly...
You think he reads it..?
lol

shoshana...
Thanks..I'll look for it...

July 05, 2006 3:33 PM  
Blogger Jewboy said...

Perhaps you should ask African Americans if there is "no deeply rooted history of violent persecution here."

July 05, 2006 4:52 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

jewboy...
and American Indians...good point
I was referring to violent persecution on a large scale against the Jews

July 05, 2006 5:14 PM  
Blogger the only way i know said...

what can i say? i think He really does! YIKES!
:)

July 05, 2006 9:19 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

David=Great piece. Excellent.

Limey's right.

There is certainly anti-semitism here. I've witnessed it a few too many times.

Also, think about upstate. When we go to Wal-Mart in the country, do you NOT hear the hicks muttering under their breaths, "The Jews are back.." or something like that?

Whenever I see/hear something anti-semitic, I think, "Uh-oh, I must have gotten too comfortable, and G-d is reminding me that we are in Galus"

More of this Chillul Hashem business to come on my blog after finals Bli Neder

July 06, 2006 8:16 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

michelle...
are the mutterings of those that u hear any different then the mutterings I hear frum people make about mexicans.."oh man more spics"...and shavartzes..etc..?
I have a post coming soon about this too..

July 06, 2006 8:52 PM  
Blogger It's All Good Now said...

Hello. I happened upon your blog, and I am very impressed.
As for my response to your post, I think that Jews in galus have to find the balance between two opposing concepts - the fact that we are the chosen nation, superior in Hashem's eyes; while at the same time, we are subserviant to the world around us and to the countries and governments in which we reside.

July 07, 2006 11:25 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

itsallgood...
Thanks..and Thanks for stopping by
very good point..
That has always been the working premise in galus..

July 07, 2006 1:24 PM  
Blogger Karl said...

WOW. How many times is this being repeated in every generation, especially about America, dont you see you are falling in to the same trap.

To quote Ze'ev (and many others have said the same elsewhere too,

I can only respond with some words from our great Jewish sages:

Rabbi Meir Simcha HaCohen, The Ohr Somayach, in Meschech Chochma, p. 191-192 (The year these words were uttered was 1926).

"If a Jew will forget his origin and true identity and consider himself a full-fledged citizen of the country of his exile… If he thinks that Berlin is Jerusalem…then a raging storm will uproot him by his trunk… the tempest will arise and spread it's roaring waves, and swallow, and destroy and spread forth without pity."


Yes, it may be a great country, (so was Germany in the early 20th Century) but no one said life was suppose to be easy. Israel is our home. Just because it may be easier for the Jews in America, does not make it easier to be a Jew.

July 08, 2006 9:12 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Karl...
How many times have Jews been evicted from Israel??
Do you think you're safe there?

The Meshech Chochma was talking about the Haskalah who totally removed Jerusalem from their prayer books and thoughts. B'H in America we still long for Moshiach...and have created spiritual bastions of learning.
I'm sorry but the analogies just dont jive.

July 08, 2006 10:18 PM  
Blogger Bonnie B said...

For as much as many like to criticize this country, you just pointed out what I love most about it. I hope I'm just not too comfortable in my own skin or sticking my head in the sand.

July 09, 2006 9:54 PM  

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